The Office of the Indiana Attorney General has filed a court brief that reiterates that Indiana Supreme Court precedents hold that the Governor may not — without the consent of the Attorney General — call another branch of state government to account before a third branch of state government.
These legal issues arose when the Governor unlawfully sued the Indiana General Assembly following its override of the Governor’s veto of House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1123, which enables the legislature to call itself into emergency session following a declaration of a state emergency.
The Governor’s constitutional responsibility in regard to HEA 1123 concluded with his veto of the provision.
“Indiana law vests the Attorney General with the authority and responsibility for setting a single legal policy on behalf of the State,” the brief states. “Indiana courts, meanwhile, have authority to resolve concrete and justiciable legal disputes. . . . If HEA 1123 imposes a concrete injury on a private party that challenges the statute’s validity in a justiciable case, Indiana courts will resolve that dispute.” The brief argues that the Governor’s unauthorized lawsuit did not meet those tests.
Furthermore, the brief states, “The Rules of Professional Conduct expressly contemplate the Attorney General’s authority on this count. They acknowledge that lawyers under the supervision of the Attorney General ‘may be authorized to represent several government agencies in intragovernmental legal controversies in circumstances where a private lawyer could not represent multiple private clients. These Rules do not abrogate any such authority.’”